Is it really true that runners should do yoga? Is “yoga for runners” really a thing?
I’ve been practicing yoga for a couple of years now and I can wholeheartedly say yes! Yoga is a great complement to running and it has become one of my favorite ways to stay fit and in control of my health and well-being.
Today I’m sharing the benefits of yoga for runners with a special interview with CorePower Yoga! CorePower Yoga is a great studio with locations all around the country, and they have been recently opened new locations in the Greater Philadelphia Area including North Wales, PA and Cherry Hill, NJ. If you’ve been curious about exactly how yoga can make you a stronger runner, check out the Q&A below!
CorePower Yoga reached out to me to check out their studio back in December and I was able to take classes at their Center City and North Wales locations. I had a really great experience! The studio has a wide variety of course offerings including:
Yoga Sculpt – yoga with strength training and cardio, 92-95 degrees
CoreCardio Circuit – strength training with HIIT, unheated
Hot Power Fusion – works balance, core strengthening, and flexibility at 100-103 degrees
Hot Yoga – 102-104 degrees
Core Restore – unheated, beginner-friendly
I had the opportunity to interview Matt, manager of the English Village location of CorePower Yoga. Even though I practice yoga at least twice a week on average, I still had so many questions about yoga for runners. Check out our Q&A below!
Why should runners add yoga to their fitness regimen?
Yoga has many physical and mental benefits for runners. Physically, yoga releases tension in muscles and builds strength and flexibility. This can help reduce the risk of common running injuries, including shin splints, tight hips, low back pain, etc. CorePower Yoga classes, specifically, are physically intense and focus on building core strength, which will help strengthen other areas of the body. Mentally, yoga can help runners reduce stress, increase focus on breath and introduce a full mind-body awareness.
A typical runner experiences muscle rigidity because most train in a sport specific manner that creates an overuse action and their focus is on an external technique. The repetitive training or any specific fitness conditioning results in a structurally excessively tight body. Yoga benefits the internal focus and centers your attention on your own body’s movements rather than an external outcome. Runners can use a yoga practice to increase balance and range of motion. Yoga can train the body and mind through asana (postures) while teaching you how to coordinate the breath with each subtle movement, allowing the body, mind, and breath become integrated in all actions.
How often should a runner incorporate yoga into their workout routine?
If you ask me, EVERYDAY!! But you can see a noticeable difference in running performance with a consistent practice of at least 3 times a week.
CorePower Yoga has different offerings from Vinyasa to yoga with weights. It all depends on what your mind/body/energy needs that day.
There are several different types of yoga practices: vinyasa, hatha, yin, etc. Which style is best for runners?
All types of yoga classes can be beneficial for runners. A CorePower Yoga vinyasa class can help runners increase flexibility and mobility. Hot Power Fusion is a great one to relieve tired muscles. And, CorePower’s unique Yoga Sculpt class can help runners build strength in ways that running doesn’t, which helps reduce injury and increase running efficiency.
How does practicing yoga help strengthen your core?
Even runners require a strong core in order to support and assist their legs for long durations and sprints especially. Yoga is one of the most efficient and effective ways to build core strength. Best poses for strengthening the core are Warrior poses, Plank postures (high plank, forearm plank, side plank, etc.), and Navasana, aka Boat Pose.
How does yoga help to strengthen your hips?
Yoga increases mobility and flexibility by stretching tight muscles (particularly your hips from running) to increase the range of motion in the joints.
Can practicing yoga improve your running form or make you get faster? In what ways?
Two areas of the body benefit from practicing yoga – the hamstrings and the lower back. With tight hamstrings, they can cause problems for lots of runners and are the root of many running related injuries. With the content flexing and loosening of the hamstrings while running, the risk of injury like a hamstring tear is significantly increased. Yoga has a certain focus on lengthening the posterior chain (the back of the body) and helps relieve tension in the hips, glutes, hamstrings and lower back. With yoga classes, you can help with the lengthening of the hamstrings to give more during running, which can also help with the body’s form on the run with an increased stride.
Should you practice yoga before or after your run?
For maximum benefits, I recommend doing yoga after each run, if possible.
What advice would you give to a runner who is too intimidated to try yoga?
Go at it with an open mind!
Beginners should be looking for something similar to a CorePower Yoga C1, where you have the opportunity to explore the postures and fundamental principles of vinyasa flow. These classes are unheated and have no added humidity. If you are already accustomed to heated classes, Hot Power Fusion is also a great one for beginners.